One of my most popular posts on Midlife Rambler shows the process I use to create my yearly vision boards. Creating vision boards has helped me achieve some goals I would have never believed were possible to achieve. I start every year by making a vision board and I often make vision boards for my most treasured dreams and goals.
But I recently learned a new technique that makes your vision statement even more powerful. Before you make a vision board, craft your own personal vision statement for your life.
What is a Personal Vision Statement?
A personal vision statement describes your vision for your future life. A properly crafted vision statement can help guide you as you make decisions about your life by reminding you of your ultimate dream for your life.
A vision statement isn’t a goal or a plan; instead, it’s a clear picture of the kind of life you want to lead. Every goal or plan you create should support your vision statement.
A well-written vision statement will:
Help you make decisions about your life. When you are presented with an opportunity, or thinking about a goal, evaluate it against your personal vision statement to ensure it aligns with your vision for your life.
Act as a compass as you go through your life. It’s easy to get swept up in the day to day and float along taking the easiest next step. For example, maybe you majored in accounting in college because you didn’t know what else to do and your father said accounting was a safe and solid career. But what if you’re a dancer at heart? You’ll feel stifled and bored behind a desk every day.
Creating a personal vision statement helps you determine what really makes you happy and who you really are at heart. When you can see yourself getting closer to the life you describe in your vision statement, you know that you’re on the right track.
Guide you in creating goals for your life. Although a personal vision statement is not a goal, it can help you determine your goals. If you describe yourself as a mentor to others in your personal vision statement, you can create a goal to find opportunities that allow you to be a mentor.
Motivate you during tough times. We all have times in our lives when it seems easier to just give up on our dreams. A clearly written vision statement can act as inspiration during those tough times by inspiring you to dream of the life that you’re working for.
What’s Included in a Good Vision Statement?
A good vision statement can take some time to create. You’ll need to dig deep to create your own personal vision statement. An effective personal vision statement is:
- Concise. Keep your vision statement between 3-5 sentences so you can easily remember and recite it.
- Future Oriented. Your vision statement should describe your life as you wish it to be in 5-10 years.
- Personal. It’s called a personal vision statement for a reason. A good vision statement should be specific to your interests, values, and skills.
- Inspiring. An effective vision statement should describe your ideal self so clearly that you get goosebumps when you read it.
What is the Difference between a Vision Statement and a Mission Statement?
Businesses often craft both a mission statement and a vision statement when they are defining their corporate culture.
A vision statement expresses your dreams for the future and describes who you want to be and what you want to achieve in life.
A mission statement describes how you will achieve your vision. It defines what you do and how you do it.
For example, Amazon’s vision statement depicts their ultimate goal as a business:
Amazon’s mission statement describes how they plan to accomplish their vision:
I personally find that creating a vision statement is useful in clarifying just what I want for my life. I’m less concerned about how I achieve my desires so I don’t take the time to create a mission statement. Instead, I use my vision statement to guide my actions.
How to Write Your Personal Vision Statement
Set aside an hour or so to calmly reflect on your life so far.
You’ll need a block of uninterrupted time to think. You may need a few sessions before you create a vision statement you’re happy with and that’s totally normal.
Write your responses to the following prompts in your journal or workbook.
- What 3 things am I proudest of accomplishing in my life so far?
- What are my 2 biggest regrets in life?
- What do I want people to say about me at my funeral? (Try writing your own obituary to really clarify what you want to achieve in life.)
- When am I happiest?
- What can I do for hours without noticing the time?
- List 3 compliments you’ve received that you really appreciated.
- What does success look like to me?
- What kind of environment do I need around me in order to feel successful? (For example, a calm home filled with loving and supportive family members, financial security, a creative atmosphere.)
- What would my life look like if I didn’t have to work?
- Create a bucket list of at least 10 life goals you would like to accomplish before you die.
Look over your answers and identify common themes.
Identify any related answers, common emotions, or recurring thoughts.
Craft your vision statement using the following template.
Imagine you are being asked for a short biography of yourself (3-5 sentences). Using the present tense, write down how you would like to be described.
A useful template for your vision statement is to write an imaginary Twitter bio where you list your desired accomplishments.
Your vision statement can be a list of your desired accomplishments, your core values, or a mixture of both.
You may need to create several drafts before you come up with a vision statement you’re happy with. That’s totally fine and absolutely normal.
How to Use Your Personal Vision Statement
Post your vision statement where you can see it often. Keep your vision statement in front of you as often as possible. Use it to evaluate opportunities and decisions. Make sure any goals you create align with your vision statement.
You may want to print your vision statement and include it on a vision board in your planner. Or create a vision board around your vision statement by including pictures and phrases that remind you of your vision.
Personal Vision Statement Examples
How about a few examples of effective personal vision statements? I’ve created personal vision statements for some characters of one of my favorite shows, Parks and Recreation, to help you see what I’ve been describing.
Leslie is caring and ambitious. Her dream is to make the world a better place and be the best possible friend she can be.
Leslie’s Vision Statement
President of the United States. Most supportive friend in the world. Champion waffle eater. Inventor of Galentine’s Day – now celebrated world-wide.
Ron just wants to live a quiet life in the woods with his beloved wife and step-daughters. He longs for the day when he can practice his hobbies of woodworking and fishing full-time.
Ron’s Vision Statement
Master Builder. Full-time Fly Fisherman. Happily retired to live in the woods. Loving husband and father.
Jerry is a devoted family man and considers himself a loyal public servant. He recently had a heart attack and is now working to improve his health so he can be around for his family as long as possible.
Jerry’s Vision Statement
I am a devoted and beloved public servant. I spend much of my time helping other heart attack victims learn to live healthfully. I’m going to live forever!
Donna enjoys the finer things in life, but she’s also a hard worker and wants to own her own business. She feels very strongly that those who are blessed should share those blessings with others.
Donna’s Vision Statement
Serial Successful Entrepreneur. Started from the bottom, now we’re here. Founder of Teach Yo Self, supporting teachers and students in excellence.
Developing a personal vision statement takes time, reflection, and work, but the rewards more than make up for any effort. Why wait? Start creating your vision statement today! I would love to see it.
More About Developing a Vision for Your Life
- How to Make a Vision Board that is Mind-Blowingly Effective
- Why Your Vision Board Didn’t Work (Plus a Bonus Tip for Amazing Success)
- How to Make a Digital Vision Board (with Free Template)
- 55 Inspirational Quotes for Your Vision Board